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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

1,926 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,926
Reviews: 1,077
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 76
Gots: 109 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Rogue Ales visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-28-2001

**NOTE: This beer is now called "Brutal IPA" **
It has also been bottled as "Portland State IPA" (2010).

An Imperial bitter with exotic traditional floor malts, citrusy, hoppy flavor and stupendous hop aroma. Rogue brewmaster John Maier describes his Brutal IPA as a cross between a Very Extra Special Bitter and an Indian Pale Ale. Hedonistic!

8 INGREDIENTS: 2-Row, Carawheat, C15 & Rogue Farms Dare™ & Risk™ Malts; Rogue Farms Alluvial™ Hops; Free Range Coastal Water & Pacman Yeast.

22oz Bottle & Draft / 15° Plato / 46 IBU / 81 AA / 13° Lovibond
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,926 | Reviews: 1,077 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sinistersteve
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A great beer by a great brewery. The name on the bottle says it all. If you can't stand the brutal assault of hops and malt in your mouth, this beer probably isn't for you. The deep, amber color accents the glass nicely. Not much lacing to the glass though. Great aroma that tickles the nose with anticipation of a great tating beer. A must have. Althugh, I do find the new bottle stencil to be quite annoying.

Photo of woemad
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at The Elk Public House in Spokane for $4.

Poured a hazy orange with a big, creamy white head. Lots of lace.

Smell was of sharp hoppiness, with a very well balanced maltiness. Smelled good!

This was a really tasty beer. Probably my new favorite ESB. Most American examples seem to be very medicinal in flavor. This is like an IPA that someone put too much malts into - I mean that in the nicest way possible. Definitely the most flavorful beer I've had all week.

No complaints in the mouthfeel department. This was a medium bodied ale with just the right amount of carbonation.

If I hadn't had to go to work in half an hour (and I'd had more money - $4 a pint is a bit much for more than one), I could easily have had several more. This is a great beer.

Photo of 49degrees
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I kicked off my first venture to the Issaquah Brewing Company (AKA Rogue Brewery) this past week with a bit pint of Brutal Bitter Ale. This extremely strong, bitter, and flavorful beer was a joy to behold.

It poured a nice deep copper color and gave off a large white rocky head that quickly flowed over the edges on the draw and lasted for considerable time in the glass while drinking. In addition to the long last head, the lacing on the glass was fairly extensive from the first to last drop.

Just like the Imperial India Pale Ale (I2PA) from Rogue, the Brutal Bitter doesn’t slug you in the face like some of the most exuberant bitter beers recently brought to market by other brewers. It’s that refined stance that this Brutal Bitter takes that helps make this an enjoyable and very drinkable bitter beer. This one also presents a unique characteristic that gives it a very smooth body like that of an English Bitter with an added malt hit, but still manages to rear the fierce bitter hit that makes this a truly enjoyable ale. In addition to the extensive hoppy characteristics, the Brutal Bitter has a nice blend of citrus fruit, which helps keep the palette tingling, and the flavors ever expanding to further the enjoyment.

Rogue’s Brutal Bitter is a very drinkable bitter beer; so much so, I grabbed a case of it on the way out the door. If you’re a bitter beer drinker, this one is sure to please.

[ STATS:>> SERVING: 16 oz. pint / ABV: unlisted / PRICE: $4.00 USD ]

Photo of Scoobydank
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

L: Orange cloudy color. Off white frothy head
S: Yummy peach/grapefruit smell. A tad bit of sweet malt as well.
T:Those grapfruit pine needle hops come out right away. Light sweet malt with a touch of peach lingers.
M: It is a bit thin, but in a good way. The thinness alows it to slip down the middle of the tounge.
D:Yet another great brew by rouge. I could drink multiple of these right in a row.

Photo of tcfishler
4.46/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Definitely hazy, dull gold-amber. Smallish, short-lived creamy tan head.

Deep, highly aromatic nose of toasty bread and floral/piney hops.

Hops right from the start in the mouth, suggesting fairly sweet citrus. Also notes of toast and yeast, lemonl-like liveliness, and late arriving roasted malt. Hop character is one note and doesn't evolve, perhaps because of the use of only one variety. Finish is soft, with the sweetness winning over the bitterness.

I love the freshness and balance of this beer, the latter being an aspect that surprised me given the name. This brew definitely could be a go-to for me.

Photo of CHILLINDYLAN
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Hazy Orange Amber color, with a decent amount of white head. Slow sticky lacing coats the sides of my beer mug.

S: Piney, bitter in your face hops!

T: Very bitter hoppy experience. a bit piney, a bit citrusy, very fresh bitter hop taste. the crystal hops are brilliant, but not overwhelming. The malts are soft and slightly caramelly. Bitter all the way through.

M: MMMM.... bitter. smooth and succulent. Little tang in the aftertaste, along with the bitterness.

D: I could drink this one anytime. I grab this one by the bomber every now and again when i can find it. I've also had it by the pint at the rogue brewpub in Portland. It was equally awesome. Love the bitter!

Photo of HopEnthusiast
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is an exceptional brew. Not as bitter as the label states. This beer has a nice hop aroma to it. it pours a nice hazy amber with an incredible two finger off white head that lasts forever. Also has excellent lacing. Very frothy head. Has a nice taste of hops and citrus but not a strong one. Excellent overall beer. You could sip on these bad boys all day long.

Photo of goz
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber.
Slighty hazy light amber, with a large cloud-like white head that slowly diminishes to leave good amounts of lace. Aroma is strong on the hops - citris peel, pine, some floral qualities. Flavor starts with a tiny hint of malt sweetness, middle and end are dominated with citric hop flavors that linger on forever. Medium-full bodied. A truly fabulous ale, why did I wait so long to try this?

Photo of Hoves
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The brutal bitter pours like a wheat beer, thick and heady. The head sticks around for a good while and when it dissipates it releases a sweet hoppy smell.

As most rogue beers are, it is hopped perfectly for the hopheads among us. The taste of the brutal bitter is in the back of your mouth and the after taste lingers briefly and not too strongly.

The mouthfeel offers perfect carbonation with a slight hint of caramel and a little bit of a lingering yeast flavor.

All in all, this is another great creation by the men and women in Oregon.

Photo of exlex
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Cloudy amber with little to no head retention

Aroma: Sweet caramel with light floral hops

Taste: Perfectly balanced sweet malt and hop bitterness, with a great lingering finish

A fantastic beer, good sesionability. The high IBU's create a refreshing bitterness while the sweetness of the malts give it the body it needs to keep you coming back for more. Highly recommend this one.

Photo of hustlesworth
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on tap at winking lizard, i got the last pint of the keg (for free!).

A- golden amber brew with a minimum haze, off white creamy puffy foam leaves a decent amount of lace like streaks of soap suds.

S- sweet caramel bread, dry spicy woodsy & honeysuckle floral hop aroma with notes of citrus pith. toasted malt and a warm nutty quality that is very inviting, along with the light fresh pine aroma near the end.

T- stale whole grain bread, and very hoppy almost like a baby IPA. enough malt to go around as well its bittersweet and caramel and almost a little chocolatey with some white raisins and apple. as for the flowers, it's spicy citrus pine grapefruit, which rogue does very well. taste is very fresh, and there's a long dry bitter finish.

MF- crisp and fresh, yet resinous and slightly oily, medium body and carbonation.

D- let's just say i'll be on the lookout for this one every chance it get.

Photo of scottum
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Better on tap than bottled. This is truely an awesome brew. Finally a bitter than means bitter. The hops are fantastic! Finding this on tap in Boston is a hophead's dream. Very balanced. A bit of sweet malt does the balancing trick quite nicely. The real show however is the hop hop hop hop fest.

Photo of ToddT
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Mildly hazy copper color topped with a fluffy off white heat. Head has some legs and leaves lots of spotty lace on the glass.

S- Hops and more hops, nice grapefruit and pine notes, but not much else can be picked out over the hops.

T- Big notes of citrus, grapefruit and pine hops at first, balanced out in the middle by some nice malt character that keeps the hops in check. Finish is dry and clean with a lingering final note from the hops.

M- Medium in body and carbonation, clean and easy on the palate with minimal build up of oi from all of the hops in this.

O- Another solid beer from Rogue, the 5.8% ABV makes this an easy drinker and the tastes are well balanced. This is not just another hop bomb, and it makes very interesting use of a single hop variety.

Photo of jbennett1919
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice golden yellow with a nice one finger head.

Smell is of nice floral hops and grapefruit.

Tastes absolutely great. This beer should be called an IPA and not a bitter. Taste is of hops and grapefruit. Solid finish!

Mouthfeel is pleasant from start to finish.

I did not expect a solid IPA to come out of this 'Brutal Bitter' bottle; I was taken off-guard, but for a pleasant surprise. I think this is probably my second favorite Rogue brew behind the Juniper Ale.

Photo of dreadnatty08
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light orange amber color. Bottle conditioning gives it a real hazy translucency. Head is minimal, not much to speak of. Aromas are dominated by I believe floral and citrusy American hops. The description of the beer claims its made solely with crystal hops. Hops are dominated in the brew with an intense flavor and bite at the end. Slick in the mouth, carbonation is medium, a great mouthfeel. A bit heavier than a typical IPA which I suppose is all it sets itself apart from that style. A joy to find locally though limited, and with a high price tag at $10 a 6er. Something I would love to try again but most other IPAs would offer the same experience.

Photo of RJLarse
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought a bomber of Brutal Bitter in a neighborhood grocery. Poured in to a pint tumbler.

Pours a pale copper color and is cloudy. Frothy two-finger off-white head is very resilient, dropping rings of lace along the glass all the way down.

The smell is fairly strong, with a citrus grapefruit aroma.

The taste is dominated by sweet caramel, with a mild bitter finish. Not as bitter as the name implies.

Mouthfeel is full-bodied but not cloying. It has a great smooth presence on the tongue, while still exhibiting a little carbonated zip.

A very drinkable brew. It's tasty and sessionable. I could drink a lot of this stuff it it was around.

Photo of TheBear11D
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1pt 6oz bottle

Pours a cloudy yellowish orange color with a long lasting cream colored head with good lacing.

Smells strongly of pine hops--an impressive overpowering aroma of hops. No malt is present in the nose.

No surprise here, but the hops dominate the flavors here. I am picking up grapefruit mostly with orange and pine hops also present.

Medium body with perfect carbonation to compliment the intense hops.

Great brew! Definitely something to have again when I need a punch in the mouth of hops.

Photo of EatsTacos
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear copper colour with a one finger white head that laces nicely.

Aroma is very hoppy, I would have thought that cascade was being used but Rogue has actually used Crystal hops, which are very aromatic. Spicey and floral at once without the citrus character that cascade would give.

For an ESB this is very classic american and differs from an english bitter in a few ways. The taste is very piney and floral and showcases the hops much more than the malt, which is bready and grainy. Not a lot of sweetness at all, the aftertaste is quite bitter.

Medium bodied, with a crisp and clean carbonation.

Photo of Beernoisseur
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hardly what I would call brutally bitter, this is actually an excellent beer. The bitterness is there, but clocking in at only 59 IBUs, there is a lot of bitterness left on that spectrum. Pretty lacing, sudsy head. Yellowy amber, with a TINY bit of haze. This reminds me of a really beefy session lager. there's obviously a lot more bitterness, but some of the same light citrusy elements, with a touch of sweetness, and good 'ole bready, toasty maltiness. The smell was pretty simple. There was nothing that I didn't expect. A touch of citrusy scent, but mostly just toasted malt. There was a tiny bit of mint? I don't know.

All in all, a great beer. I'm glad I had it, and I would never turn it down in the future.

Photo of WineGuy3000
4.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Gavage
4.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Copper / orange in color with a nice 1" head and decent lacing developed through the drink. The aroma is floral and slighlty fruity. The flavor is great as malt and bitterness are all over this, and some mild fruit tones are detectable. The bitterness level is brutal as the label says - and it's great !

Very smooth and slightly dry on the finish. Medium bodied. Bitterness lingers forever on the tongue. Absolutely a great beer to sit and have several of.

Photo of John1985
4.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cloudy amber color with a white head that has nice lacing down the glass. Good piney hop aroma, flavor is nicely balanced with a lively hopped flavor. Very balanced with malt and not overpowering in the hopped flavor. Smooth aftertaste & drinkable! I could drink 3 or 4 without a problem. A very fine ale but not very brutal, I was expecting a little more bracing bitterness.

Photo of phunknerd
4.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ye Gods, a monster among us! This is, as has been said numerous times above, a big, scary ESB. (Although I don't disagree totally with the comparisons to IPA.)


Appearance: It looks slightly like the o.j. of satan. Cloudy, light-bronze, and I noticed some sediment at the bottom of my glass. (Did I get a bum bottle or is it actually unfiltered?)


Smell: Not the strongest of aromas, but I smoke, so this is probably not my strongest suit. Hints of citrus are about all I can detect.


Taste: Here we go! A massive blast of hops, citrus, pine, and something else I honestly can't put my finger on, are only partially ameliorated by a little hint of malt at the beginning. Sort of like an apology for the delightful ravaging to follow.


Mouthfeel: Slightly astringent, but surprisingly clean and pleasant. A pleasant bite, all double entendres aside.


Drinkability: I rated this somewhat lower simply because it just doesn't seem feasible to drink three or four at a time. It's an absolutely first-rate beer, but one's taste buds need a rest after a bomber.

Photo of Brew33
4.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had never heard of this beer or read any reviews before purchasing. Rogue has a reputation for making good beer but I wasn't expecting this. Wow, this is an exceptional beer. Incredible.

It is tremendously well balanced, smooth, complex, earthy, hoppy, and sweet. This is my beer nirvana. The mouthfeel was nice, it smelled slightly sweet but not too sweet. The taste is wonderful.

I am just discovering some of the beers you longtime BA's have been enjoying for years this could be a staple in my house. I certainly recommend this brew to anyone.

Photo of acknight
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
89 out of 100 based on 1,926 ratings.